via Mahofa clashes with government – The Zimbabwean 23 July 2015
Masvingo provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa has openly clashed with the government over the fate of 500 families occupying Samba Ranch in Chiredzi, where she has strongly opposed their eviction.
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombershora has ordered the eviction of the families but Mahofa argued that they were beneficiaries of the land reform programme.
According to government sources the families have to vacate the farm to pave way for businessman Moses Chingwena, who is said to have acquired the property before they invaded it.
Relations between Mahofa and the government reached boiling point last week after the provincial affairs minister refused to go and address the villagers on their intended eviction.
“I cannot be part and parcel of this dubious eviction exercise because these people were beneficiaries of the land reform programme in 2000. We cannot be seen evicting 500 families from a piece of land to pave way for just one person,” she said. “I have made it clear that I will not be part of this and I am still engaging the responsible minister to reverse his decision.”
However officials from the Ministry of Lands have vowed to remove the affected families arguing that Chingwena had an offer letter to the property. An inside source said that the affected families were supposed to be removed last year and the eviction order still stands.
“We are behind time in implementing the eviction order because according to our records the property was not acquired for resettlement purposes. It belongs to Mr Chingwena who now wants to use it for developmental purposes,” he said.
Minister Mombeshora told The Zimbabwean “I am not really sure of what is happening on the property, but our position has been clear regarding the fate of the affected families. They were supposed to be removed last year and the eviction order still stands. They have to move out.”
The affected families have however vowed to resist eviction arguing that they invaded the property during the height of farm invasion in the year 2000.
Although Chingwena could not be reached for comment sources close to him said that the businessman wants to establish a conservancy on the property.